Inlays and onlays are restorations which are used to rebuild a tooth that has lost a significant amount of its structure due to decay or trauma. They are an excellent alternative to crowning a tooth, as generally less tooth structure is removed.

They are made by a dental technician in a laboratory and then cemented into place. Inlays fit into the tooth whereas onlays sit on top of the remaining tooth structure. At our dental clinic, we usually make them from pressed ceramic (e-max system) which is white in colour and looks exactly like natural tooth. Two appointments will be necessary: the first to prepare the tooth surface and the second to fit the onlay or inlay.

Your first appointment

  • A local anaesthetic is given to numb the tooth and the surrounding tissue and then a preparation is made. The preparation is as minimal as possible.
  • An impression (mould) is taken using a material that sets around the prepared tooth / teeth.
  • A temporary restoration will be placed on the prepared tooth to protect it whilst your inlay or onlay is being fabricated.
  • The impression is sent to our Dental Laboratory where our technicians will custom make your Inlay or onlay. This can take up to two weeks.

The second appointment

  • At the fitting appointment, a local anaesthetic may be needed to numb the tooth and surrounding gum.
  • The temporary restoration will be removed and the tooth cleaned.
  • The dentist will then try in your new inlay or onlay, making sure the fit is perfect, your bite is comfortable and you are happy with the appearance. The inlay or onlay will then be permanently cemented in place.
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